Upon waking, his first thought was, Justin. Checking quickly, he saw that the teen was lying on the other side of Gus and Beh. It was only the second day of their reconciliation and Brian was still a little unnerved by their recent breakup. But Justin was there, asleep. Whereas Gus was not. His hazel eyes were partway open and fixed on his daddy.
Softly, Brian said, "Hey, Sonny Boy," and the toddler crawled into his arms and pillowed his head upon his daddy's chest.
For another ten minutes or so, they lay quiet, both Brian and Gus enjoying the time together. Wordlessly communicating, thoughts piggybacking on pulses; Gus reassured by the strong, steady beat of Brian's heart.
Finally, after a while, the toddler began to squirm, restless now and wanting to get up, and wanting Justin to get up too. He looked over at the sleeping teenager and called him. "Jusin!"
"Shh," Brian told him. "Let Justin sleep."
But Gus' cry had done the trick and Justin stirred and turned over to face them. Knuckled sleep from the corners of his eyes. "Hey."
"Sorry," Brian apologized.
"No. . . it's late anyway."
Gus scrambled over to him and exchanged lipsmacking kisses, his leaving traces of saliva on Justin's cheek, sloppy kisser that Gus was. Brian dispaired of ever teaching him the finer points. "Jusin."
Gus looked over his shoulder at Brian. "Dada. Jusin."
"I see him." He knew what Gus meant, what he wanted. He wanted Brian to kiss Justin the way he always had when they awoke. What the baby lacked in technique, he made up for in enthusiasm.
"Jusin, Dada," Gus said again, more emphatically.
"Oh, Justin," said Brian, as if he suddenly understood and he leaned over and kissed his partner, then kissed his son which made the toddler smile. He threw back the covers and sat up, reached for Gus and the little boy came to him. "You gotta pee-pee?" Gus nodded. Brian set him down on the floor, then stood and took his hand, led him to the bathroom, and helped him onto the step they'd gotten for him when he'd started potty training. He'd had a little potty of his own at first but had graduated to using a regular toilet to pee in. Lindsay said it would help him if he felt like a big boy. So, Brian had gotten him a little step stool to stand on. Lindz had also said it'd help him if he saw his Dada pee-pee or even if they went together. Hence, Group Pee 101. Even Justin joined in, coming into the bathroom behind them. Flipping the top on the toilet and reaching into his pajama bottoms, Brian said to Gus, "Now watch Dada."
"Wait," Justin said. "I'll get the Cheerios."
"Hurry up," groaned Brian. "I don't know about Gus but I can't hold this much longer."
Somewhere along the way, Lindsay had read that putting Cheerios or Fruit Loops or other small, round foods in the toilet would help Gus improve his aim and to focus on the task at hand, thus decreasing the number of clean-ups, which was high on Brian's list of things not to have to do.
Justin returned with the cereal and tossed in one. "Okay."
"As I was saying," Brian began again, "watch me."
The toddler's eyes followed his daddy's movements as he urinated. Then Brian flushed the commode and unfastened Gus' diaper. Although he did pretty well during the day, they still didn't trust him at night with the training pants. Especially on $200 sheets.
"Okay, it's your turn," and he watched as Gus aimed for the bowl. There was no need for him to hold his penis (as Lindz and Mel insisted they call it, prompting Brian to ask what was wrong with cock?) as it was rather small and pointed straight from his body most of the time. The flow was slow at first but grew stronger and when he was done, he held out his hand for the baby wipes to clean himself and then reached over—with Brian holding him—and pushed the handle down. He clapped at the rewarding whooshing sound.
Justin praised him too. "Good job." Then Brian helped him down so that Justin could go.
When they were all done, they each washed their face and hands and went into the kitchen, the toddler running ahead in his Pooh night shirt and a clean pair of trainers while the adults hung back and kissed again.
Gus reached for the door handle on the refrigerator. "Dada!"
"What is it? What do you want?"
"Hold on." Brian opened the fridge and got out the orange juice and found Gus' sippy cup with the Rugrats on it. "Come sit down," he told him and Gus climbed into a chair at the table. Once he was given his juice, he drank greedily until most of it was gone. "Good?"
"Good," he replied and Brian poured him a little more.
Meanwhile Justin had gotten the coffee started and came over to survey them regarding breakfast. He squatted down to talk to the toddler. "Okay, Gus, do you want pancakes or cereal?"
Good choice," Brian said as he was definitely in favor of steaming hot pancakes slathered in butter and maple syrup versus cold cereal. Yeah, like there was even a choice?
"That your vote too?"
Justin stood. "Pancakes it is." One of his favorites and they always had the fixings on hand.
To tide them over until the flapjacks were ready, Brian peeled and cut an apple into section that he and Gus ate while watching SpongeBob Squarepants.
"So how come the octopus doesn't wear any pants?" Brian asked.
"I don't know," replied Justin. "He just doesn't. But he plays the clarinet."
"What does that have to do with anything?"
"I don't know! Just let me cook, would you?" he said, exasperated because he had no idea what playing the clarinet had to do with not wearing pants.
Despite being confused by their fashion, Brian enjoyed the show, laughing at it more than Gus who was mainly mesmerized by the colors.
When the pancakes were done, Brian granted special dispensation to have breakfast in the living room in front of the TV so they could watch The Powerpuff Girls.
"Can we not have any white furniture in our new house?" Justin asked.
"What about this stuff?"
"What if it doesn’t go with the house?"
Brian thought about it. "Oh." He'd never really considered the kind of house they'd find. "I guess it's possible."
"So what kind of house were you thinking about?" Maybe, finally, he'd pin Brian down about something regarding the house. He'd been annoyingly circumspect.
"I don't know," Brian answered, lying. He'd always envisioned owning one of those sleek, ultra-modern houses on a cliff overlooking the ocean except there were no ocean views in Pittsburgh. So much for dreams. "What about you?"
"I don't know," Justin answered, lying. He'd always imagined owning an English Tudor house with dark exposed beams in the ceilings and an English garden in the back.
"Well, wherever we move, there's got to be a room for Gus and plenty of space for him to run around in the back yard."
"And we can have barbecues and invite all our friends."
"Moochers, you mean." Then added, "And I'm not barbecuing on a grill. Too fuckin' suburban."
"So when are we going to start looking?" Justin asked, all of the talk about houses getting him excited.
Brian bought himself a little time by finishing off his one sausage link. "Maybe once the new year starts, I won't be so busy at work and we can look at some places."
"We could always have something built," he suggested.
"Take too long."
"Might take just as long to find one we like that's already built," Justin said quite reasonably.
"Guess," conceded Brian.
Justin watched Brian as he ate, feeling that the man wasn't telling him something but not quite suspicious enough to confront him. Whatever it was, if it was anything at all, Brian would eventually tell him. It seemed as if Brian was unable to keep anything from him for long, for good or bad.
"Dada," Gus said, shaking Brian's knee. A milk moustache graced his upper lip.
He'd given Gus a cup full and he'd already drank it plus the cup and a
half of orange juice he'd given him before breakfast. And he'd eaten a
quarter of an apple, one sausage link, and a pancake. He'd definitely
inherited Justin's appetite.
After breakfast Gus helped them carry the dishes to the kitchen and load the dishwasher and then he stood by and watched as they made the bed, diving beneath the billowing spread and giggling each time Brian and Justin lowered it on top of him. Then he'd squirm from beneath it just in time to evade his daddy's grasp.
But Brian caught him at last. "You think that's funny, little boy?"
"Yeah," laughed Gus. He wriggled until he escaped his Dada and ran shrieking to Justin as Brian growled and did his best bear imitation. "Jusin!"
"You want me to save you from the big, bad, grizzly bear?" The toddler shrieked again and ran in place as Brian continued to come closer, growling steadily. Calmly, Justin waited until he was close, grabbed him, and kissed him, magically transforming the growling bear back into Brian. "Tada!"
"Hey, Sonny Boy," Brian cooed. Safe again, Gus bounced happily and Brian picked him up to get a kiss from the toddler too. "What do you want to do today?"
"You want to go to see the animals? You want to go to the zoo?"
"Yeah." He loved seeing the lions and tigers. Even the bears. Especially if he had Dada and Jusin to protect him.
"It's a little cold out to go to the zoo," Brian began.
Justin made a suggestion. "What about the Museum of Natural History? They've got dinosaurs—"
"Dinosa!" yelled Gus.
"The museum it is," announced Brian. "But first we gotta shower and I need to shave."
Cupping his face and kissing him again, Justin rubbed his chin with his thumb and told him, "Don't."
Brian raised a brow but said nothing. What did his little boy have
As they pulled up to the museum, Justin pointed to the dinosaur out front. "Look, Gus. Dinosaur."
"Dino-saur," Justin said again, slowly.
"Dinosore," Gus repeated.
"Good. That's very good."
Gus tried out the word again. "Dinosore. Big dinosore."
And Justin agreed. "It's very big. His name is Dippy."
"That's right. Dippy."
Brian parked and they approached the huge replica of the Diplodocus, the tot keeping between them, close by Brian. Behind it stood another replica, of a T-Rex. It was green with pictures of all kinds of animals painted on it. "What the fuck is that?"
"Don't you remember me telling you about DinoMite Days? Next year, they're gonna have all these painted, fiberglass dinosaurs throughout the city."
"Like the cows."
"Yeah. They sent a notice around to the institute about entering the competition," Justin said and looked to see what Gus was pointing at. "That's a rhinoceros," he told the little boy. Gus' eyes were wide with wonder, first at Dippy and then at the brightly colored T-Rex.
"Did you enter?" Brian asked.
"I'm not much of a painter," Justin replied, shrugging. "Besides, it's kind of hokey."
"Yeah," agreed Brian, "but they'd pay you, wouldn't they?"
"$2,500 I think."
Gus squatted and picked up a leaf, showed it to Brian. "Orange?"
"Orange," Brian confirmed. "Plus your stuff would get seen," he said, continuing his conversation with Justin. "And if you did a good job, who knows? You think I like doing ads for feminine hygiene produts?"
Laughing, Justin shook his head. "But that's different."
"It's not—" He stopped himself as he was about to say that it wasn't art.
"You're right, it's not art. But I'm good at it and I try to do the best I can on each job no matter what. And people recognize that," said Brian. "Even if it is only to sell tampons." He held out his hand and Gus came to him. "Let's go see the dinosaurs."
"Dinosores," the toddler replied and he climbed the steps with his daddy beside him and Justin coming up behind them.
The museum was having its annual Gem and Mineral Show and there were a number of people milling about the displays when they entered. So they quickly bypassed that area and went to Dinosaur Hall where they saw the original skeleton for Dippy and a Brontosaurus and a T-Rex. There were other dinosaurs in the hall as well: an Allosaurus, a Stegosaurus, Pterosaurs, and Ichthyosaurs.
When they got to Bonehunters Quarry, all three were issued pairs of goggles and the adults took charge of the chisels while Gus got to use the brush as they chipped away at the rocks to reveal realistic-looking fossils below, the way real paleontologists would.
Since the movie in the Earth Theatre had just started, they sat inside for a while, Gus' eyes glued to the wrap-around screen while thousands of brightly colored fish swam in and out of sunken ships. Brian smiled. It reminded him of diving in the Bahamas among the wreck of The Tears of Allah. He glanced over at Justin and saw him smiling as well, probably remembering that day too. That had been the first time they'd gone on vacation together and it was still special to them.
When Gus got bored with the film, they headed upstairs to Dinosaur Overlook. There Gus smelled prehistoric plants and sat on a nest of dinosaur eggs and giggled, and then Justin read to him from a dinosaur picture book the same way that he read Winnie-the-Pooh to him at home.
The toddler loved the African Wildlife and North American Wildlife exhibits, shrieking with joy and a bit of fright when he saw the huge bears and mountain lions, zebras and warthogs. At his age, so many things were a little scary even when they were fun. He held onto Brian's leg and peeked at the towering wildebeest and massive caribou, glad that his Dada was there and Jusin too.
He ran out of steam though before they could make it to the third floor
so Brian and Justin decided to save that part for the next visit and they
left the museum, saying bye-bye to Dippy, and went in search of food.
They went to the diner cause Justin knew Deb would be working even though it was the day after Thanksgiving and she'd be glad for the familiar faces, especially Gus. He probably should have been working himself but he'd taken an extra day off in celebration of his having come home. Although things had gone pretty smoothly he knew it'd take more than a few days for them to transition back to the way they'd been.
"Hi, Gus," cried Debbie as they entered. She was always glad to see him.
Still a little worn out from the museum, Gus acted shy and Justin asked him, "Who's that? Don't you remember?"
"Yeah," he answered softly.
Gus brightened. "Hey, Debee."
She picked him up and hugged him. "Hey, baby." Kissed him too and he laughed cause her hair was so bright and she always had on such shiny things. "You want something to eat?"
"How about some meatloaf?" He looked blankly at her. That wasn't a word he knew. "How about some chicken?"
"Chicken." That was familiar. He was hungry and looking forward to eating but he also felt full. He tugged on Brian's arm. "Dada, I got go."
Brian took him from Deb. "Pee-pee?"
Gus shook his head. "Poop."
Grateful that, at least, he wasn't having to change diapers anymore, Brian took him to the bathroom.
As she watched them go, Deb smiled. "God, he looks exactly like Brian at that age."
"His mom showed me some pictures of him at two and he and Gus are identical. Except for the nose. And Gus' hair is a little lighter."
"He's got the eyes and the lips though. And those long legs. Gay or straight, he's gonna be something else." She took out her notepad. "So what do you and Brian want?"
"I'll take the meatloaf and Brian wants a turkey sandwich. Whole wheat—"
"Hold the mayo." How long had she been making turkey sandwiches for him not to know that? Going to put in their orders, she returned and sat with Justin. "What have you boys been doing today?"
"Went to the natural history museum."
"I swear, I would never have thought Brian Kinney would be a good father. Especially with an old man like his. You did that, Sunshine. You and Gus. You helped him change."
Justin disagreed. "I think he's always had this other person inside him. He just needed a reason to let him out."
"Well, you and Gus, you're the reason. And that's more than the rest of us could do." And they had tried. Although she never said so, she knew that she and Michael and Lindsay were the reason Brian could have Justin and Gus. they had made that possible.
Brian returned with Gus, the toddler looking very relieved as did Brian because he hadn't brought any extra training pants in case Gus had an accident. They were getting fewer in number and less frequent as he got better at letting them know when he had to go.
During lunch Brian got a call on his cell from Lindz wanting to know when Gus was coming home. "You want me to bring him now?"
"We're having dinner with Mel's aunt and she wants to see him."
"Fine. We gotta go back to the loft to get his bag and then we'll bring him." He snapped the phone shut, his face suddenly dark.
"We're taking Gus home?" Justin asked.
"Yeah. Lindz has plans for the evening."
All the while Gus watched him as if he understood and Brian wouldn't have been surprised if he did. He was very bright. So Brian relaxed and tried not to fret.
Lunch over, they drove to the loft and Brian and Gus waited in the Jeep while Justin went up and got Gus' stuff including Beh. When he returned with the things, the toddler seemed to realize what it meant and he said quite clearly, "No, Dada. No go."
"Mommy and Mama miss you. Don't you miss them?" asked Brian.
"I bet you do. I bet you do miss Mommy."
Gus couldn't deny it again and so he said instead, "Me stay. Stay here."
But, of course, Brian drove on despite Gus' insistence that he was staying with them and the baby whimpered and held onto Beh.
"It's only going to get worse when he has his own room in our new place," Justin said to Brian.
"I can't help it if we're more fun."
"Don’t say that," Justin said, not wanting to give the baby any negative impressions of his mommies.
"It's because he only sees us once or twice a week. If he saw us every day the way he did them, he wouldn't fight so hard to stay with us," he explained.
Brian tightened his grip on the steering wheel. "I can't go by there everyday."
"I know. Me neither."
Despite promising Gus that they'd see him again that weekend, the toddler fussed terribly when Brian and Justin left the house without him, upsetting both men more than they wanted to admit.
"Maybe," Brian said in the car, "I should talk to Lindz and Mel about some kind of joint custody or something."
"Brian, we're not equipped to take care of a kid full-time. We both work, I've got school…"
"He's in daycare until the afternoon. We could get a nanny for the rest of the time when we're not there."
"And still not see him anymore than we probably do now," Justin pointed out.
"He'd be in the same house, at least."
"I don't think Lindz or Mel are gonna go for that." Brian stared out of the windshield at the traffic ahead of them. "I know you hate leaving him. I do too. But we have to do what's best for Gus."
"Fine," he said tightly, conceding the point.
"I said fine. So I see my kid once a week and watch him cry when I leave."
"I know it's hard but the older he gets, the easier it'll get."
"Yeah," he agreed. "He'll have gotten used to me not being around." Just like my old man.
Justin could almost hear his thoughts, knew he was thinking about his father and how the man had been missing in action most of his childhood but there was nothing he could say to make him feel any better.
They drove the rest of the way in silence, Brian fiddling with the radio in between lights before giving up and turning it off. When they pulled in front of their building, he paused for a long moment.
Waiting until they'd gotten inside the apartment, Justin said, "If you want to do this, to try and get joint custody, I'll support you." But it would be difficult since Brian had signed away all of his legal rights to Gus. It would mean coming to some kind of private agreement with the two women.
But Brian replied, "You're right. I can't be a full-time dad to Gus. We're not Ozzie and Harriet. Hell, we're not even Ozzie and Sharon."
"He loves you. You're a great dad."
"I don't want him to think that I don’t care."
"He knows that you care. He knows that you love him."
Brian looked down. "You didn't."
It was the first time either one of them had brought up their recent troubles.
"I did. I was just… angry. But I always knew that you loved me. I never thought that you didn't."
"I'm sorry for what I did." He'd said it before but it seemed to him that he could never say it enough.
"I shouldn’t have left. We should have talked about it and worked it out. I hated not being with you."
"Maybe you were right to leave. Maybe we needed time to think, to be by ourselves for a while."
"All I know is that I'm never going away again. No matter how angry I get. I'll just have to find another way of dealing with it." His eyes sparkled devilishly. "Maybe I'll have to turn you over my knee and punish you."
Justin rubbed his hand over Brian's face, against the short bristly
hairs of his beard. "Mmm… Speaking of which…"
The teen lay spread-eagle on the bed, his body red where Brian had rubbed him with his beard: his nipples, his belly, the side of his neck flushed. The man was stretched between his thighs and he held his cock up by the base as he worked it over with his lips and tongue, rubbing the head over his face in between licks and kisses and deep sucks that hollowed his cheeks. Justin caught his breath and arched his back, slumped to the bed again. He ground his hips into the spread and cupped the back of Brian's head. God, it felt so good, Brian's mouth on him, moving up and down his cock, the head rubbing against the inside of his lover's throat and then against his chin, the difference in texture, in sensation enough to make him cry out. "I love you, I love you..." The muscles in his thighs tightened and he gasped, grabbed a fistful of cover.
Precum wet his beard, his lips, and nose. He sucked and kissed Justin's
shaft, feeling the teen's balls swell beneath his hand, feeling his dick
swell inside his mouth. Justin slipped free of his hold and rubbed against
the underside of his bottom lip and erupted. Cum dripped from Brian's nose
and cheek, and from his chin, and he licked his lips and tasted Justin on
He exhaled slowly as Brian entered him, taking a deep breath at the end, when Brian was completely inside him. His legs were one across Brian's shoulder and the other around his back and he could hardly move with Brian's body pinning him to the bed but he loved it, loved being immobile, trapped beneath his partner's lunging hips and heaving chest. His leg sliding from Brian's shoulder to wrap around his waist, Justin tightened his muscles, squeezing Brian's cock deep within. The man cried out and lay still while Justin's inner muscles convulsed around him.
Relenting, Justin allowed Brian to withdraw and to turn him over onto his stomach. The teen groaned as he was mounted and fucked, Brian's cock penetrating him with piston-like efficiency.
Brian pulled out of him after a few minutes and rubbed the head of his dick over Justin's swollen hole, the rim puffy and red. The teenager gave a cry and pushed his hips back, swallowing the turgid head and an inch or two of the shaft as well.
His fingers entwined with Justin's as they raced towards a climax,
bodies straining against one another, intimately joined, the only sounds
in the room their breathing and the wet sound of fucking, of Brian's cock
sliding in and out of Justin's hole. Suddenly Brian groaned and jerked
against Justin's buttocks. Jerked again and felt his cock spit. He
continued to pound the teen until he was spent, continued to thrust into
him until Justin moaned and his hole spasmed and clenched Brian's cock.
The man reached beneath Justin and grabbed his dick just as he came.
Enclosing the head in his fist, Brian milked Justin dry.
His fingers moved with skill, drawing the razor over Brian's face, divesting him of his day's growth of beard. Slowly he covered him from chin to cheek, blazing clear trails through the luxurious lather. When he was done, he slid his hands, still slick with gel, down Brian's belly and griped his cock which had begun to stiffen. From base to tip, he stroked his lover until Brian was hard and dipping precum to mix with the gel. Justin released him and turned away. Bent over the sink and ran his gel-covered hand over his ass. His finger probed between his cheeks and sank into his hole.
Brian could barely stand it, he wanted to fuck him so badly but he
waited until Justin removed his fingers and then he eased inside him for
the second time that night. He sighed. God, he loved his little boy.
He awoke to find himself alone. Rising, he looked around and saw a light in the livingroom. Brian was seated on the sofa. Holding a photograph. Of the two of them and Gus.
"I never thought I could love him as much as I do," he said quietly once his lover had joined him.
"It hurts, sometimes, to leave him," Justin confessed.
"They're the best parents he could have. I could never take him away from them. Never hurt him like that." A tear slipped from beneath his lid and Justin took him in his arms and held him.
"Remember the night Gus was born? And you picked him up and held him and he reached out and touched your face?" Michael had taken a photograph of that moment, the first time the two of them had been together. "He knew you, even then, knew that you were his Dada. And he'll never forget it. He'll always be yours." Kissed him. "Me too," because he knew that part of the pain came from a lingering uncertainty about them as well. I should never have gone.
Brian shivered and drew a breath. "I want a fireplace. In our new house."
"A fireplace and a tub," Justin added and Brian chuckled softly.
Thumbing away a tear from his lover's cheek, Justin rose and held out his
hand and, in silence, they returned to bed.